No deal on energy bill between Senate and House
April 14, 2012
AUGUSTA – Lawmakers in the Maine Senate and House of Representatives were unable to reach agreement on the governor’s hydropower energy proposal, which was rejected outright by the Maine House and passed in the Senate yesterday.
A meeting, known as a “committee of conference”, was called to see if a compromise could be brokered, but a deal remained elusive in the final hours before the lawmakers recessed for the month.
“Lawmakers in the House have a fundamental disagreement with the governor and the Senate on the matter,” said Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, who was among the lawmakers assigned to broker the deal. “The bill will now die between the bodies.”
Democrats argued the bill would only benefit Hydro Quebec.
The bill, LD 1863, would have allowed certain power generators, like large-scale Canadian hydro-power producers, to benefit from participating in Maine’s renewable energy portfolio, which encourages the purchase of alternative energy power.
“The Governor’s hydro proposal would have taken money from Maine people and handed it to a government-owned company in another country,” said Rep. Jon Hinck, who is the lead House Democrat on the Energy committee. “This would do nothing to lower Maine energy prices but would certainly benefit Hydro Quebec.”
The bill would have lifted a 100 megawatt cap for qualifying renewable power generation, allowing larger hydro power producers to participate in the program.
Jodi Quintero [Martin, Hinck], 287-1488, c. 841-6279